Touch and go
And there are navigation sophistications built into Gingerbread. Touch the base of the display and five thumbnail cards appear, showing you what’s on which screen. Note there are only five homescreens – HTC’s Sense overlay offers more. Never mind, five is plenty and the actual widgets (not the shortcuts) are smaller. For instance, unlike the Nexus S, HTC's dedicated Twitter client for HTC Sense takes up a whole screen.
Home screen and set-up options
Explore further and the new Android keyboard is significantly improved, so texting and e-mailing will be easier. The predicted word ribbon that appears as you start tapping aims to improve with use, as Gingerbread spots what you most frequently say – not that you’re predictable, of course. Copy and paste is also better, with clear and easily managed text markers.
Like the iPhone 4, the Nexus S includes a gyroscope which app developers can use to add an extra dimension to gaming. This will work well with the accelerometer and digital compass for motion-controlled games. Gingerbread also enables you turn your phone into a mini Wi-Fi hotspot, so up to six people can log on to the Internet through the phone’s 3G connection.
And here comes the biggest innovation: NFC or Near Field Communication. This is the technology built into Oyster cards and other contactless devices, and can be used to turn your phone into a credit card to pay for low-price items, for instance. Well, one day, anyway, as there are no programs to take advantage of it yet. Will you still be using the Nexus S by the time this technology takes off, though? We’ll see.
Next page: Camera shy
A Mac user pining for "standard protocols"?
The first thing you need to do is dump your Mac...
@ AC 10.32
.....then why are you reading the review of a handset that clearly does not have a keyboard?
"And the ability to sync calendar and contacts with my Mac using standard protocols and without jumping through unnecessary hoops. Why is this sort of thing never covered in these reviews?"
....maybe because synchronizing your Mac with an Android phone is a piece of piss operation that the rest of us worked out how to do years ago?
Seriously, what else would you like the review to cover? How to turn the handset on and off? How to install the SIM card? How to get it out of the box it comes in?
I like it....
Got mine delivered a few weeks ago, and have had no problems (T-Mobile slashing data limits notwithstanding!).
A few points:
>Samsung have a proven track record of "Release and Retire" for high-end handsets. They pump out new models quickly, forget old ones (by months, not years) which get no updates, and their support is notoriously horrid.
Software is released by google directly - other than the lettering on the back, there is no mention of Samsung elsewhere on the handset.
Battery life... I'm a "heavy user"... It's a phone, an email client, an mp3 player, a portable games system, and I get around 18 hours from a charge. Not fantastic, but better than the last generation of Android handset. Don't expect Nokia-like weekly charges though.
The screen is fantastic. The contrast between black and colour is immense - you can safely leave the screen on its dullest backlight setting and read the screen in daylight - saves the battery too.
Only cons are: the quality of plastics used. Feels a little cheap, and the smooth shiny plastic casing easily slips out of your hand (unlike my HTC Hero with a rubberised backing).
And the lack of SD card. I tend to uninstall apps I don't use, delete music once I'm bored of it, and I don't watch movies on my phone. 16GB should be ok with me, but I can't see why Google/Samsung aren't releasing a 32MB "professional" version.
Oh, and Mac user worrying about syncing... love the cloud. Transferred my phonebook, email and calendar to the device within 30 seconds... by signing into my Google account.
The Reg seems to be having an Android spurt at the moment, keep it up! Creative ZiiO, Motorola Defy and HTC Desire Z next please.
I really like this phone
The letdown for the N1 for me was its battery life - no such problems with the Nexus S.. I'm getting 35 hours with everything switched on (VOIP listening keeping wifi up, Lattitude running, some background apps, GPS, Sync). With the N1 I had to practically bust it down to a dumbphone to get 18 hours.
Only downside is it looks a bit cheap.. very plasticky. Not that I'm a style guru, but it might matter to some.